Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Baltimore Marathon Recap: DNS

So I trained for four months, ran a 20 miler, was totally prepared to run a marathon and didn't happen. I didn't run. I didn't even show up to the start line. It was a bit of a bummer.

The week before the marathon, I had a bad cough, but nothing that I thought much of. But in the days leading up to the race, it was getting worse, my chest was hurting, and coworkers were starting to run in the opposite direction when they saw me in the hall. My marathon prospects weren't looking good when I felt like I couldn't even handle going to the expo to pick up my bib. Sure, I probably could have pushed through and maybe even finished the race, but I wasn't interested in bronchitis or pneumonia.

The truth was, even before I got sick, I had been fairly sure I wouldn't be completing the marathon, although I thought I could at least do SOME of it.

Two days after the 20 miler, I found out we are expecting baby #3! Unlike the common stereotypes for a third pregnancy, I have not been laid back or nonchalant AT ALL about this. Starting with finding out. When it comes to getting pregnant, there are two types of people. If you can understand this sentence: "I got my BFP on a FRER at 12po.", then you are my type of people. If it makes no sense to you, you've probably never gone down the rabbit hole of TTC (trying to conceive) websites and general obsession that comes with desperately wanting a baby and not having your body cooperate immediately. In that case, you definitely will not identify with the following story and definitely will think I'm crazy (which I am).

I felt good during the race, so I had pretty much written off that month for a positive pregnancy test. But then, that Tuesday at work, I started to really suspect I was pregnant. I had implantation bleeding, which I had also had with both boys (bleeding when the fertilized egg implants in the uterus). One of my wise friends, who is also my level of pregnancy crazy, told me to check my heart rate in my FitBit. Since the day I had ovulated, my daily average resting heart rate was consistently up at least 2 bpm.

That seemed pretty auspicious, so as soon as I left work I went to Walgreens, bought a FRER (expensive pregnancy test, considered to be the most accurate and gets the earliest positives). I had cheap amazon test strips at home, but my period wasn't due for 3 more days, so I needed the big guns if I wanted to get to the bottom of this. Plus I'd been holding it for hours at this point, attempting to save up pee for testing needs.

I took the test in the dirty Walgreens bathroom, and it was...inconclusive. With pregnancy tests, even the faintest hint of a shadow of a line means a positive. But I kept getting confused - sometimes I thought I saw that shadow of a line, sometimes not. I spent a good ten minutes sitting in my van staring at it at various angles, in various lights, etc. I couldn't tell. I used an app to invert the line, and sent pictures to friends. Still inconclusive. Some saw it, some didn't.
I maintain that the line is clear as day on the inverted picture. 
See, you can't just take another test because my pee had already been diluted during the first test so any further tests would just have the same problem. (Pregnancy tests test for the presence of HCG, a hormone your body produces when knocked up, and it increases in amount the further along in your pregnancy you are. That early on, before a missed period even occurs, it's a very minimal amount which is why it's so hard to detect on a home pregnancy test.)

Sure, I could test again in the morning, but if you are thinking that then you do not understand a potentially pregnant woman's need to know NOW not in the morning NOW NOW NOW. It was torturous. Eric insisted there was no line and I was crazy. So I woke him up at 5am the next morning to show him an extremely clear, unmistakable POSITIVE test!! 

Yep, it's my third rodeo and my hand was still shaking seeing that second line for sure. It's pretty amazing and I don't think I'll ever get over the idea that my body is actually creating a human being as I type this. 

However, there are some differences in a third pregnancy. With my first, I was instructed to drink x o ounces of water an hour before the first sonogram. I set an alarm to remind me to drink at work, drank that exact number of ounces exactly an hour before the sonogram. 

With the third, we were walking upstairs to the Perinatal center and I was like "oh shit I was supposed to have a full bladder, give me some of your coffee". 

My anxiety has been off the chain this time. Of course, I'm always worried about losing the baby when pregnant, but it's been much worse this time. The older I get, the more I know, and the more I realize how much it's truly a miracle to conceive and carry a healthy baby to term. There's a LOT that can go wrong. It's gotten harder and harder for me to feel confident things will go right. And I still have a long way to go. Up until we saw the heartbeat last month, I was a nervous wreck. But, we saw it! It was beautiful and I cried. This is one of many reasons it drives me crazy when I'm asked if we are "trying for a girl". I don't care, I just want to see a healthy heartbeat on the sonogram!

A couple basics:

Due date: June 9 (likely a scheduled c section a week or so before that)

How far along: 8.5 weeks and counting

Feeling: completely  miserable, by far the worst of all 3, I just started Zofran yesterday and so far it's a Godsend. 

Sex: Keeping it a mystery again! We won't know until June. We are not "going for a girl" and will be thrilled with a healthy baby either way. (Can you tell this is a pet peeve?)

Do the boys know: I mean, technically yes, but do they care or understand or show any interest? No! They are live in the moment types. 

So, in a nutshell, that's the story of the marathon I never ran! I'm not posting a social media pregnancy announcement just yet, so I'm just posting this blog post quietly, not on Facebook or anything, so only the very few people who still have me in a reader (THANK YOU) will even see it (if anyone). 

Saturday, October 7, 2017

NCR 20 miler recap

I'm kind of amazed I actually ran 20 miles this past Sunday! I mean, 20 miles. It's crazy.

I've run this race a few times in the past, and it's one of my favorites. Tiny, only around 100 runners this year, shaded, flat, quiet - you can't go wrong. It's point to point as well. You show up at a shopping center and park your car. This is the finish. Fancy coach buses with nice heated bathrooms bring you 20 miles away, nearly to Pennsylvania. You walk about half a mile (quite a warm up) to the start line and then run back! The whole thing is on a rails to trails trail, so there are no turns, streets, cars, spectators - it's really a whole lot of running on packed dirt, through trees and that's about it. My favorite.

I arrived just before 7, found my friends, and got on the bus. We tried not to talk too much on the bus. Gotta save the stories for the run!

It had been a little hotter than usual the previous week and extremely humid. We were relieved to find that we were actually chilly before the race started.

At 8am, the race director yelled something like "GO!" and off we went. It bottle necks a bit with 100+ runners on a fairly narrow trail, but spreads out almost immediately. 

I felt a bit rough the first maybe 5 miles, but the good thing about a long race like this is there's plenty of time to turn things around. I think I was finally warmed up after that. I was actually kind of shocked when we hit mile 12, I wouldn't exactly say it flew by, but it definitely didn't feel like I'd just run 12 miles. It felt like no big deal. Shocking. Especially since I had so many training runs when I felt like getting to 12 was nearly impossible. Another exciting thing was the 12 mile mark has actual bathrooms, like ones that flush and have running water in the sinks. We were a bit spoiled for this race. 

Miles 12-15 were a struggle. Definitely my low point mentally. It's always that time where I've run really far, but still have a loooong way to go that gets me! We started to get into old stories like how we met our husbands to push through. 

After a walk/final Gu break at mile 15 (I had three throughout the race, miles 5, 10, 15), I felt a lot better, and improved further after we got to the portopotties around mile 17-18. This race can mess with your head because after 19 miles of flat, shaded trail, the final mile is on the streets, in the sun, and up a sizable hill. It was over 80 degrees by that point and humid so the last mile is pretty dumb. Although I weirdly felt good then and it didn't really bother me. Maybe I psyched myself up for it enough?

One of my favorite things about this race is it ends at Dunkin Donuts. It's weird, my stomach can be totally off after a race, food sounds disgusting, and yet I can still chug an iced coffee. 

We did some stretching in the parking lot, as one does. Jackie brought her fancy vibrating foam roller, it's been a life saver during this training cycle! Then I headed home to relieve my poor husband, who had been bartending until the wee hours the night before and then got up with the kids for my race. He's kind of awesome. 

I felt a little rough directly after, but I laid down a little bit while the kids napped and that seemed to do the trick and then I felt pretty good! I took the kids to our favorite place solo and bought a week's worth of groceries that night, so I consider that success. 

Upon posting that, I realized I never ate those potato chips. Where did they go?

NCR 20 miler - official time 3:58:30. Yep, not breaking any speed records. We took it easy and used walk breaks liberally. But I made it and now I'm "ready" to do a marathon in two weeks. Maybe. 

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Marathon Training

As of tomorrow, the marathon I've been training for is just one month away! I had this idea of updating progress in various posts as I trained all summer, but, here we are.

Turns out I don't have any pictures that relate to running for this post. As usual, here are my adorable kids.

Training started out subpar, to say the least. I was pretty sure I was going to have to downgrade to the half. My long runs were all awful, and it seemed like the universe was trying to tell me my marathoning days were over.

I actually had a few strong runs back in June, making it all the way up to 12 miles. But then in July, I went on vacation, and after that it just all seemed to go downhill. I couldn't seem to break that 12 mile mark. And sure, 12 miles is sort of an accomplishment, it's not something I could do a few months prior, but a marathon is 26.2 miles. 12 miles is not in any way sufficient preparation.


I had to bail on a run after 5 miles because of heat stroke. Heat stroke! That's never happened to me. I once did two ultra marathons in the same week, in July. (Rosaryville and the Endless Summer 6 Hour Race.) I was fine! But, you can't exactly ignore heat stroke.

I did 11 miles, and then got hit with a bad fever and was sick the rest of the weekend. This was July. Who gets a fever in July?

My training buddy Jackie and I did 12 miles in ridiculous heat. High 90s, feels like 102. This was downtown by her house, so no shade, no breeze, just HOT and horrendous.

The ONE week I worked in early August, I somehow horribly planned and ended up only being able to get to 12 miles. I did technically run out of time and had to get to work, but it seemed like a pretty poor excuse considering I had so much time off.

The weird thing was I actually ran out of time for 3 of these runs and had to stop at 12 miles, in addition to the other reasons. It had me questioning my commitment. If I couldn't carve out the time to train properly in summer, when I wasn't even working, things weren't looking good come August when I was back to teaching full time.

Even I'd had more time, I honestly felt like I could barely drag myself to wherever the "finish" was for those runs. Each time, 12 miles destroyed me.

Things weren't looking good. In mid August, I was at the point where if I couldn't get in a decent, actually long long run, I was downgrading to the half marathon. Jackie promised me we would do at least 15 that weekend come hell or high water.

The night before was not good. Eric was bartending. We had planned to start at 6, so I was just falling asleep around 9 and......Crying. Royce was up. I went and rocked him and put him back down.

Same thing at 10. Same thing at 11. After I put him back down at 11, I decided if this continued, I would just bring him to our room. Our bedrooms are on different floors, and it's stupid going up and down stairs in the middle of the night. I went down to the basement, found the pack and play, and fought with it until it was set up with a clean sheet in my room.

Apparently that did the trick and Royce was happy in his crib in his own room the rest of the night. I passed out.

1:00am: my door flies open. Dalton had apparently woken up frightened. He's my anti sleeper. If Royce wakes up, I know he truly wants to go back to sleep, he just needs help getting past whatever is bothering him. Dalton is a different story. He hates sleep. He would be perfectly happy waking up at 1am and playing until bedtime the following night.

While I was sure it was against my better judgment, I told him he could get in bed with me. See, this same thing had happened two weeks prior, and we had spent two hours in bed together rolling around, no one comfortable, until I finally asked if he wanted to return to his own bed and got a resounding YES. But I guess this time we were both sufficiently exhausted and passed out until my alarm went off at 5am.

It turns out that just because at some point (maybe) during infancy kids achieve the holy grail of sleeping through the night, it doesn't mean they are done waking you up. Nope. And it's actually worse when it's unexpected and you are out of the habit. It really amazes me how the past summer, when Royce was a newborn, of course I was up all the time, feeding at night, and it seemed like no big deal. I was used to it. Now, after one night being up with one or both kids, I can't even function.

Anyway, after that night of surprises, I couldn't exactly pick out the perfect, weather appropriate running outfit, since I had a 2 year old passed out in my bed and I was left with whatever I could grab from my drawer without making noise. Past marathon training me probably would have had all that laid out the night before but tired, #motherrunner current me is a constant hot mess.

I met Jackie at 6 at the NCR, a nice, flat, shaded dirt trail. Not the most auspicious start, but we had the best run of the entire training cycle. The weather was, for the first time, cool, and more importantly, NOT humid. We both felt, oddly, good (we'd actually canceled doing the run the day before after a night of constant wakeups on her end). We got 16 miles done and actually felt like, if need be, we could have done more.

After that, training was officially on. We continued to increase our long run mileage, getting up to 19 miles. This weekend, my training buddies, Casi and Jackie, and I will be doing our big practice run to prepare for the marathon, the NCR 20 miler. I've done it in the past, years ago. It's a perfectly timed, small race that a lot of local runners use as marathon preparation. We plan to use it as a trial run for nutrition, hydration, doing everything we can to simulate everything for marathon day.

It's not just long runs! Jackie and I have been doing a track series put on by a local running store. Based on a one mile timed trial we did at the beginning, they group us by speed and give us very specific workouts and goal times. We also do form practice, and upper body/core work. It's horribly painful and also awesome. When I had big plans to return to my running blogger days I was going to recap, but tonight is the last night and I'm just now mentioning it.

I did record one workout to give anyone still reading an idea of what it looks like.

6:15pm - arrive, warm up independently (I usually do an easy jog, 2-4 times around the track)
6:30 - dynamic warmup moves, form practice, and strides
6:45 - workout! Example (I included my times, which were all below the goal times, woo!):
          4x200, ranging between 41-45 seconds, jog 200 in between
          1600 (aka one mile), 8:04
          4x200, ranging between 41-48 seconds, jog 200 in between
7:45ish - cool down, jog/walk around the track twice
8:00 - bridges, push ups, triceps dips

Lastly, we've been trying to be diligent about stretching after long runs (Jackie brings fancy tools like a vibrating foam roller). I'm not in my 20s anymore and all. I've been getting in at least 2 other workouts each week, usually easy runs or elliptical, and including at least some sort of strength work weekly as well.

I have pictures for that part!

Don't judge the unmade bed. Eric had just taken a basement nap. Shockingly, in a bed. 

It's not the world's greatest training, nor is it the worst, and I just hope it's enough to get me to the finish line. I'm hoping after this weekend's race I'll have a better idea of a time goal. I know it's going to be a lot slower than my previous marathons, since they were all pre-kid, and I'm just slower now. I know it, and I wish I could say I was ok with it, but I'm not. Yes, I created life, I am woman, hear me roar, but it still sucks to feel so slow compared to what I used to run. I ran several marathons all around 3:54, eventually getting to my fastest time of 3:51 before Dalton was born. Now...I know it's going to be significantly over 4 hours, probably even over 4:30 based on my long runs.

Maaaaaaybe someday I'll attempt to train really hard to get back to that sub 4 level, but that's not where I'm at now. It is what it is. This race is about finishing, which, previous paragraph notwithstanding, I am actually excited to do. 


Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Goodbye, summer, goodbye

I suppose it had to happen eventually. This glorious summer has come to an end. And in true school year mom fashion, I started this blog post about two weeks ago. I'm just now getting it wrapped up.

I'm really sad about it. I like my job and all, especially my team, especially ZACH RATAJ, but let's get real: not working is always going to beat working. All summer, I've been doing things like grocery shopping at 10am on Tuesday morning, only wearing clothes with elastic waistbands, napping when the kids nap, and not setting my alarm. Adulting is just hard and it's a real bummer when real life responsibilities eclipse my preferred lifestyle of laziness and play dates.

Sitting in the potty, wearing a tank top, reading? Sure. It's summer. 
I always get at least a medium amount of anxiety going back to school. I hate transitions, and I really hate icebreakers. The beginning of the year always requires icebreakers. I get really worked up about those. They generally include some sort of activity where you have to share something interesting about yourself and I give this way more thought than I should. There's nothing interesting about me. I'm as basic as they come. I live in the suburbs with my two kids. I wear Lularoe. I can't wait until pumpkin spice lattes are back. BASIC.

As though trying to get back in the habit of waking up early and packing lunches wasn't painful enough, HBO apparently conspired with my job to really put me in a dark place. Right as teachers returned to work, the last episode of Game of Thrones season 7 aired. Yes, I know there's another season but rumors are floating that it could be 2019 before it's on. I spent over a year waiting for it, and then there were 7 beautiful weeks and BOOM it's taken from me. 

Last Monday morning I was asked if I was ok and I was like NO I'M NOT OK GAME OF THRONES IS OVER. People who don't watch are all like "oh you need to find another show". No. There is no show that even comes close to being comparable. I don't even like other shows. Go away. 

Clearly, I'm struggling here. On the bright side, the last few weeks of our summer were just as fantastic as the rest. Summer is every teacher's favorite time of year, and I always love it, but I think this summer might have been the best one I've ever had. Last summer was one of the only ones where I didn't work at all, which was nice. It was so much fun, but still a huge transition to life with two kids after Royce was born in May. And while I'm one of the (few?) crazies who absolutely loves the newborn days, and sometimes I want to cry missing those times when my sweet little baby just slept on my chest in the ergo all day, having two toddlers running around is even better. 

It's total chaos, because they are both constantly running in opposite directions, but they are beginning to actually play together and it is the cutest. They have been playing "catch" in the yard each night and I die.

Eric taught Dalton that Royce is a toddler now that he can walk, no longer a baby. So now I have to hear "Royce is a tobler, not a baby" every day and I'm like... go to your room. You're grounded. Shut up. That's hurtful. I've tried to explain that they will both always be my baby but Dalton remains unimpressed. When I hear a mom at the playground tell her child to be careful around the baby and realize she's referring to Royce it's the best validation. But I think Dalton has forced me to face facts that technically speaking, he meets the qualifications for a toddler. 

We took our first family flight last month! We went to visit my family in Rochester.

Seeing my kids with their two cousins is one of my favorite things in this world.

The big boy cousins, enjoying an evening fire.

The main reason for our visit was my nephew's superhero fifth birthday party.

(He wanted the mask like that.)

Other than that, I mainly just buckled down, and worked hard to get through my summer to do list of organizational tasks around the house. 

JK JK JK. Anyone who knows me knows the real joke is that I actually MADE such a list. I did nothing on it. Like, actually nothing. I didn't organize the kids clothes by size, create photobooks for each kids' first year of life, organize the upstairs bathroom...nothing. But I did take a lot of naps. And got to see a lot of friends. 

My friend Emily visited with her son Felix from Manhattan. The kids hated it, of course. 
I got to meet up with my college friends up DC for a girls weekend and we took exactly one awkward selfie.

Ideally, I'd like to post more than once a month, not that anyone cares, but I want to. I plan to do posts soon on kid updates and how marathon training is going!

Sunday, August 6, 2017

How to Create a Bad Ass Mom Squad

When we first started seriously considering trying to start our family, among my many concerns was navigating motherhood with no family around. All of our relatives are out of state, so we knew going in there would be no help with sick kids, no last minute date nights, no one to call for pick up if we had to work late,. I don't mean to sound like our families aren't wonderful, they just live hundreds of miles away. If our kids need something, which they often do, it's on one of us to provide it.

I've found that there's only one way to survive this situation. You need to have friends that become family.

It's just essential.

I've mentioned before that my friend Kristin came and picked me and Dalton up to take me to the hospital when I was in labor with Royce. When we had stomach flu earlier this summer, my friend Liz dropped Tylenol on our porch. Eric and I forgot we had an evening event one night and had to work late, and our friends Carrie and Bobbi took both our kids, fed them, entertained them, and did it so well they didn't even care that we weren't there. It's kind of a big deal to find people to watch two very young children, in addition to their own young children.

You get the gist - it's essential to have a kick ass mom squad. I've been all over social media posting about how I just went on an out of the country, no kid vacation with my mom tribe of 5 (me, Carrie, Bobbi, Liz and Hope). They aren't just mom friends, they are true friends, and even our husbands had a great time without us, smoking cigars at the pool bar. While I can't say for sure, I would imagine it's just as useful even if you do have family living close by.

I had never met any of these ladies prior to giving birth. We didn't attend each other's baby showers, we didn't even know each other pregnant. It's crazy to think of now. So here's my best tips for creating your own mom squad.

In Punta Cana with my tribe!
  •  Mom support groups

If I've said it once, I've said it a thousand times - the new mom support group run by my hospital is amazing. You don't even have to have delivered there, they truly welcome everyone. It's run by a nurse and every other week an LC is there, so you have the option for professional advice.While that is certainly helpful, the true gem is meeting other mothers who just had their own baby and are trying to figure this nonsense out alongside you. I first met Carrie and Hope there when Dalton was not even a month old and just beyond tiny. I attended again with Royce, and one of the women I met there dropped clothes on my porch when I said I didn't have anything warm enough in newborn sizes for the unseasonably cool weather that May.

  • Get out of your comfort zone

Carrie and Hope invited me to go get sushi with them afterwards, and I texted Eric all excitedly "I MADE FRIENDS". I was so nervous, like it was a first date, and it even ended up being the first time I nursed in public, since they were, I went for it! I had been super nervous taking my brand new baby out to a restaurant for the first time with people who were practically strangers, but I'm so glad I did.



  • Always be on the lookout for potential friends. 

I'm an introvert and just as socially awkward as any blogger, I even have witnesses who will provide a statement confirming that. When I first moved to my current home, Baltimore, from upstate NY where I had previously lived my entire life, it took me years to make friends. Years! Obviously we all know your time becomes a lot more limited once those babies arrive, so I couldn't afford to dilly dally with mom friends.

I met my friend Liz when she came to my old apartment on one of the coldest days of the year to get some formula samples I didn't need that I'd posted in a local FB exchange group. We started chatting and realized we both had biracial baby boys born just 9 days apart! Long story short, on another crazy winter day, in the middle of an ice storm, I went to her house to stay with her (bigger) baby boy after her water broke and she went to the hospital!

If you meet anyone anywhere that seems even possibly like someone you would want to hang out with, awkwardly invite them to a playdate and hope for the best.

  • Internet

I just got together with my friend Kandi, who I originally "met" when she tweeted me that her baby was born after reading my blog. We quickly became actual, IRL friends and survived the #twoundertwo experiment together.

It's 2017! Time to internet mom date.

  • Mobilize existing resources
Just convince the friends you already have to join you in the family way. If you're a basic bitch like me who turns 30 and starts spitting babies out, it will likely happen anyway. You even might reconnect with people you had kind of lost touch with, because nothing brings women together like pregnancy and babies. Sure, you might unfortunately lose a friend here or there if it turns out she's a sanctimommy, but for the most part it's a likely win. IF you follow the below advice.

Friends since middle school, babies born a week apart!
  • Don't be a judgy asshole. This one is the most important.

I know a lot of moms, most of them have kids close in age to mine, so I feel fairly confident in saying that finding a mom tribe of women who do things just like you is unlikely. You know all those super duper life changing parenting decisions you make when your kid is a baby? We all did them differently. Holding out for someone who wants to do everything exactly like you? Ain't nobody got time for that.

Our kids are all either 3 or dangerously close now, and I promise you cannot tell who formula fed, who breast fed, who co slept, who cried it out, who had purees, who was baby led weaned, who stayed home with their mom, who went to daycare while their mom worked, who walked early, who walked late, etc, etc. Our 5 kids all run the gamut with all those mommy wars items listed, and now that they are older, we are still going to have our differences in how we parent them.

What we bond over is that we all love the crap out of our kids, and we all have moments where they annoy the crap out of us. And we all vaccinate. That's the one area I will draw the line and judge you.

Here's the difficult part: You can't go around acting like your way is the right way, and make disparaging comments about your friends do things, couched by disclaimers like "oh but it's all right for you". Phrases like "I would never" should, actually, never cross your lips. Because kids are constantly changing, you might have another one who's totally different, so what you would "never" do in that moment might suddenly become a really appealing option. Or, maybe you truly will never do it. Unless it's giving a kid ecstasy or just throwing them in the backseat of the car with no carseat, 50s style, get off your high horse.

It's easier said than done, because when we are trying to figure out how the hell to parent these children, you never really know what you are doing. Drawing lines in the sand and vilifying the "other" way is a surefire way to make yourself feel better about your own choices. The problem with that is, it makes you a jerk and then you'll likely never have a true mom tribe. When things don't go as planned and your ZOMG FOODIE BABY LED WEANED little cherub refuses to eat vegetables when he turns two, you really need friends to lean on.

It's simple really. Try out all the stuff I listed above, don't be all smug and holier than thou, and vaccinate yo kid.

Monday, July 31, 2017

Who knew age 1 was hard? Apparently not me.

I realized recently that there's been a shift with our kids. Since his birth, Royce has been the one who is "easy". Not based on personality, although he is very chill, just based on their ages. When he was a tiny baby, in that convenient stage where you just set them down and they can't move, Dalton had just discovered life with words, and realized he could use them to voice his opinions. Even once Royce started crawling, his newfound mobility was nothing on a potty training two year old who was determined to have a say in things.

When we were getting ready for our Fourth of July BBQ, we did our usual divide and conquer, and each took one kid with us to our respective shopping locations. I took Royce, Eric took Dalton. Royce hated it. While I still, and may always, think of him as my little baby, he's now solidly a toddler who wants to toddle around the store, touch all the exciting colorful things, and really didn't appreciate me putting him in the cart to just sit there and watch everything pass him by. He was pretty pissed. I tried letting him down at the Dollar Store, and holy crap, how does he move SO FAST? He hadn't even been walking a month at this point, and he was running all over the place. I would reach over to grab something off a shelf, and he would be GONE.

That adorable little bum moves so fast.

Meanwhile, Eric was peacefully picking out rubs for his burgers with Dalton walking alongside him, helping out, and discussing what he saw in the store rather than desperately trying to grab and eat it. Not to mention the fact that I still needed to grab the diaper bag to go out with Royce. Dalton is at the age when he can just hop in the car! It's crazy! He's like a real person.

I either don't remember or didn't realize the first time around with just one child, but one is a challenging age! At the moment, certainly harder than two. It's fun for sure - we hardly have any pictures of Royce smiling, because he just constantly walks around with this look of intense concentration as he examines everything and tries to figure out the world. But I definitely forgot how things are with the intense curiosity combined with the total lack of awareness and understanding. Of course, Dalton is still busy and also figuring out the world around him, but he has language as his main tactic by this point. If he sees something new, he will just ask us what it is and listen as we answer (usually). Royce absolutely will not rest until he has touched it all over, licked it, bit it, and probably thrown it. Keeping him from falling to his death and messing up whatever Dalton is playing with, it's quite a full time job. That I would be fired from if it was an actual job. He currently has a big lump from falling into the street. Yeah.

Constant smiling, rarely captured smiling!
Of course, this age has plenty of positives as well. I completely forgot how amazing the drunken toddler waddle is, and seeing it all the time is seriously the cutest. I could watch it all day. He's not talking, but is communicating more and more - walking to me with his arms up to be picked up, consistently signing more and all done, pointing, clapping, waving, and my current favorite, playing peek a boo. Every time he's in the bath he hysterically laughs while "hiding" behind the shower curtain then peeking out, over and over. On dry land, he loves being chased and cracks up while I chase him, or, his absolute favorite, while his brother chases and catches him.

And, while he's almost constantly on the move, occasionally he will let me get some cuddles in.

He's super in to his independence these days. He refuses to eat unless he has his own fork, and god help me if I try to borrow it to help him spear his food. I have to place it on the fork while he's holding it. Then he will deign to eat.

Double fisting.
Our family is currently in the best ever situation. For real. Both parents off work, full time childcare available. Of course, that means we are bleeding money on something we don't need, but we have to pay year round to keep our spot. We've used the same in home sitter since Dalton was 3 months old and we don't consider it a waste of money at all, because she's amazing and it's worth it to pay for a few weeks a year we don't need. Just the other day, at a birthday party, I heard a kid singing the ABC song, and I was impressed a kid so young knew it, and then I realized it was MY KID. Who do you think taught Royce to sign more? Not this slacker mom who lets him fall into the road. Daycare for the win.

It's been nice to have the option to send them each day, but more often than not, we end up texting her telling her they won't actually be coming that day because we are busy doing something fun, like the trampoline park or seeing the Sesame Street planetarium show at the science center.

Or just getting as messy as humanly possible.

We took a day trip to Sesame Place. 

Dalton was excited this year to see the characters, and talked about it, but when we actually got there, he only cared about the rides.

Looooved riding all by himself.
The next day, he had his own celebrity sighting at the beach: an actual dump truck, dumping dirt.

Absolute fascination
He also got to help Eric fix his brakes. I've never seen this kid so excited and proud. I tried to get him to come in for dinner and he was all "I need to help daddy fix his car!" with the urgency I can only imagine is usually reserved for doctors dealing with life or death situation.

We separated here and there to each have some solo time with one of the kids. I took Royce for a baby date to the science center. I met my friend and her son, but attempting a picture of a 10 month old and 14 month old is basically impossible. Just look at her blog, (I recently linked to her mommy wars post) it's fantastic and her kid is really cute, trust me.

Dalton and I joined some friends and took another day trip to Washington, DC, this time to see the National Building Museum.
He likes to run just a little bit.

Cutest kids ever, on the train

We've taken a break from our adventures to lay low while Dalton and I recovered from random fevers yesterday. Turns out getting sick and having a sick kid is a LOT less stressful when you don't have to deal with work. You can just binge watch Mickey and not drown in guilt and sub plans. I don't really subscribe to the mommy wars and I love being a working mom but I'll admit that during the school year, the panic of a sick kid is one time I'm jealous of SAHMs. 

That's been our summer so far! Luckily we still have a few more weeks, it's still July, even if summer is flying by way too fast, as usual.